What today is the Keystone Subdivision began in 1837 as the Pittsburgh & Connellsville, opened between those two places 17 years later. The B&O, after arriving in Cumberland in 1842, had surveyed and constructed it's famous West End, which was completed and in operation to Parkersburg by 1852. Looking for a lesser grade and shorter line to the Ohio, the B&O began surveying a route north-westerly out of Cumberland to connect with the P&C. In 1854 construction on the original Sand Patch tunnel began, and in 1871 the gap between the B&O and the P&C was closed at Fort Hill, PA, between Rockwood and Confluence.
The Keystone Sub had a multitude of branch lines, including: the Mount Savage Branch, Salisbury Industrial Track (extant and sporadically active), the Berlin branch (removed), the
The line over Sand Patch went through several name changes in it's history. After the C&P merger, the Baltimore & Ohio called it the Main Line Subdivision of the Pittsburgh Division. This was changed to the Keystone Subdivision of the Pennsylvania Division in the Chessie era, and finally today's Keystone Subdivision of the Baltimore Division after CSX came into existence.
With the closing of the West End as a through main line in 1985, the Keystone Subdivision inherited the role of CSX's main east-west traffic artery. Today, it is a modern mountain mainline, double track all the way hosting around 50 freight trains and two Amtrak movements daily. Even though it is B&O's lowgrade line, its grades especially on the east slope are still long and tough. The subdivision's last tower, SA at Sand Patch, was closed in November 2001 and demolished in January, 2002.
Coal and coke had been major traffic sources since the turn of the century. Most mines served by the P&C played out and were closed in the second half of the 20th century. Accordingly, local traffic levels dwindled. Today, coal is only shipped (off and on) by customers on the S&C Subdivision and the Salisbury Industrial Track - however, a local Rockwood-Johnstown turn continues to operate.
This page provides a list of Signals & Stations along with a track schematic.
(Note that the Keystone Subdivision on this site is covered only as far west as Connellsville, PA even though the subdivision encompasses the line to Pittsburgh.)
You can access a number of images taken along the subdivision here. The volumes are arranged chronologically.